Magical forest walk opens in Bulwer
November 4, 2008
The Marutswa Forest logo is appropriately telling of the forest’s finest features, its majestic Yellowwoods and colourful Cape Parrots, and of course the backdrop of Bulwer Mountain which certainly creates a presence. But Marutswa has lots more to offer so best take a drive through the midlands and out to Bulwer to walk through the magical 3000ha forest yourself.
Marutswa has a history of abuse dating back to the 1800’s when the forest was logged for its valuable timber. Today, people walking though the forest are all giving back to it rather than taking out. This is thanks to local volunteers who formed ‘The Bulwer Biosphere’ to tackle conservation problems on behalf of the Bulwer community, and saw eco-tourism as a way of ensuring the survival of the shrinking forest and an opportunity for the nearby Bidla community to benefit. The profits from the centre are split between the community and the Biosphere.
The walk is approx 2km (one-way) through the forest and there are viewing decks, observation jetties and lovely picnic spots as well as an observation tower that looks out over the forest’s canopy. Apart from rare and endangered Cape Parrots which can be spotted in flocks of up to 50-70 at a time, nesting in the yellowwoods and feasting on their seeds, you might also spot the Green Twinspot, the Orange Ground Thrush, Bush Black Caps, the Knysna Touraco, and even Ground Hornbills. There are also Bush Buck, Reed Buck, Bush pig and Dassies living in the forest (if you don’t see the Dassies you’ll definitely smell them!) It’s not all about what you can spot though, and the ferns, tree orchids and ancient vines alone make the forest feel truly magical.
The interpretive centre has a refreshment kiosk, an indigenous nursery and comprehensive interpretation facilities as well as an arts and crafts gallery displaying some unique crafts made by local community members. If you’d like more trained eye’s and ears with your group there are two local guides on site who give well-informed guided walks through the forest.
For more information on the Marutswa Forest Walk call 082 325 3514 or visit www.kznbirding.co.za.
Opening Times: 6am – 4pm 7 days a week including public holidays
Entrance Fee: R20 Adults, R5 Pensioners and scholars and Free for pre-school children
Accredited Birding and Cultural Tour Guide available on request at R20 pp
Large parties catered for – please book in advance